Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Insecure Writers' Support Group 4 September 2019


September question: If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why? 

This is the place, Boys and Girls. The big items are going there Friday. Technically, the place is owned by my son's father. He bought it with inheritance money. It cost $90,000 and yes, it's a real fixer-upper. It's also 4500 square feet of Unique, and it was our last chance to stay in Colorado. Denver and Boulder are way too expensive. 

Grover is a literal ghost town in the tri-state area (Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming.)

It's way out on the Lone Prairie.

It is the first place that I feel like I'll be able to call home. For my entire life, I've felt like my house was built on quicksand. This place feels like I belong, although, technically it's not mine. I'll have a space for me, and I feel sort of useful even though I am rather disabled at this point. I can still drive and will be as helpful as I can in every way I can.

Also, I've got my new pals Ghost Town Grover and Cactus Clem to help me along the way. 

Other than the old Grover Hotel, my Death Cheese Road Manager alter-ego Cie Cheesemeister would do her writing in her suite at Rock Ranch, in her suite aboard the revamped Sulaco, or on her private mess of a spacecraft, the Titanity.

You don't want to take a ride on the Titanity. Trust me on this.

~Cie~




Don't forget to visit and bookmark the Good Stuff from Grover website! Grover is busy stocking his Ghostly General Store, and I (the Ornery Old Lady) am trying to get the bookstore and library up to snuff. If you purchase anything through one of our Amazon links, I get a modest commission, which helps pay for things like illustrations for my forthcoming book, Ed's Red Wheelbarrow, or toward renovations on the Grover Hotel!


Monday, September 2, 2019

About Cie Monday + Inspire Me Monday #241+ Promote Yourself Monday + Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion 2019: Adam's Peak


I can only dream
of walking up Adam's Peak
body compromised

~Cie~


Notes:
Once we are fully moved into our new home, I would like to begin practicing remote viewing again. I will also be taking daily walks to the park and hope to increase my endurance enough to be able to walk from one end of the main street to the other. Grover is a very small town, so I don't want you-all thinking: "Wow, Cie, impressive goal walking twenty miles!" 
I would also like to rehabilitate myself to the point where I can walk up a set of stairs without having to pull myself up using the banister or to lean against an opposite wall to support myself. However, one thing I need to avoid is making this a shame-based goal, i.e. calling myself a loser because I need to support myself to climb stairs. We are taught from the time we are very young that it is shameful to be in a lesser state of physical ability than a competition class athlete, and I'm not being particularly hyperbolic when I say this. It's horrible.
Your physical abilities and disabilities are not a marker of success or worthiness. They are simply conditions that exist.
With physical therapy, I was able to bring my left arm back to a state of functionality where I'm not in constant debilitating pain. I still don't have the full range of motion in the arm. I am not a better person for having an arm that functions reasonably well than I was when I had an arm that I could barely use, and having an arm that was fully functional and had normal sensations would not make me a better person than I am now.
Physical ability is not a hallmark of greater worth, and physical disability is not something that people should be punished for.


Visit us at www.goodstufffromgrover.com. We're nearly there! The moving truck comes Friday!



Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Crazy Cheerleading Camp's Come as You Are Party: Hoarding Hurts

Image by Frank Winkler from Pixabay

This is one of those "it doesn't get any realer than this" posts, and I will tell you right now that this wound is one of those that may be healing around the edges but it isn't closed. It's still raw, and any unsympathetic or hateful bullshit will either be outright deleted or the sanctimonious sack of crap saying it will be ripped a new asshole. Choose your words carefully, and if you feel the need to be judgy, ask yourself what exactly you're getting from being that way.

I have had a problem my entire life: a problem which I was pretty well forced to keep secret, which meant that rather than being dealt with, it festered and grew out of control. Shit shows like "Hoarders" sure as hell didn't help, they just created a forum for people who don't understand the problem to say crap like: "I'm going to watch "Hoarders" now. At least my house isn't that messy--LOL!"

My thought regarding "Hoarders" has always been:
"And next up, just look at what those whacky Schizophrenics are doing this week! Woo-hoo! It's so great to look down our noses at people with mental health problems, isn't it, Folks?"

Hoarding is a subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder (which I have in other forms as well). It is not a sign of "laziness." Having hoarding disorder is exhausting. People with hoarding disorder try to clean and get rid of things but crippling, obsessive thoughts take over. Medication helps some people, but others (myself included) can't tolerate the side effects of medication.

Finally, with sympathetic help from my son, we got rid of a storage unit which was costing us close to $400 per month. We did move some of the items to a smaller, cheaper storage unit. We still have a dilapidated mobile home full of items to go through. In packing for our move, we have gotten rid of a lot of trash, but there are some cases where we boxed things to deal with when we are in our new, more stable environment.

The "normal" people in my life never helped me with this problem. Instead, they shamed me for being "lazy," came into my home and threw things out willy-nilly, which traumatized me, and then commanded me to "never let this happen again." It took a young autistic man (my son) to help me start getting an actual grip on a very serious problem. My son is a planner, and he has helped me develop a realistic plan. Together, we are getting through this.

 I was having a panic attack this morning looking at the haphazard shelf and pile of junk in front of me. My son and I worked on it together. We ended up with many bags full of garbage and recycling. There are some boxes which contain stuff which people who don't struggle with this crap condition would have been able to dispense with without a qualm, but they are coming with us to be dealt with in the new place.

One constant in my adult life is always feeling that my house was built on quicksand. Everything was always temporary. I would hope for new situations to work out, and they inevitably fell apart. I did not know until I was almost 40 years old the magnitude or nuances of the neuro-psychological anomalies I was dealing with. I often wonder what could have been if I had been treated with compassion instead of disdain and if I had learned coping skills at a younger age.


Before you judge, educate yourself.
Now you know a little more than you did before about a person who doesn't quite fit into a world with very rigid rules for "rightness."

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~


Saturday, August 31, 2019

Fearless Thinking, Stress-Free Living Exercises: An Experiment



Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.

I am currently reading the above book as a member of the Online Book Club review team and have decided to take part in some of the exercises and see if I find them helpful. I already like the book well enough that I feel confident in recommending that you preview it and see if you might benefit from it as well.

I have decided to participate in the first recommended exercise, which involves recording one's thoughts for a minute four times a day. I can't promise that I'll do this four times a day, but I can commit to doing it daily. I will sometimes share these thoughts.

This is not a writing exercise. It is not meant to be edited. It is a means of determining where the mind is currently focused. Here is my first entry.

Unedited thoughts, one minute
08/29/2019 16:12

The bandage on my finger is making me feel crazy.
Will this stupid wart dissolve?
My ankle hurts, my right foot hurts. 
It feels like there is something sticky on my fingers.
Will things be all right after we move?
Will we actually start eating better?
Why the hell can't I just finish packing? What's stopping me?
I'm worried about the move.

I'm not going to try to analyze this very much. Lots of worry and trepidation is the theme of the moment, and I can't say I'm surprised.

~Cie~

Monday, August 19, 2019

Changes are Coming--Get Ready!


Hello, Delivered People!

As you can see by the dates, I was having trouble deciding what I was going to do with this blog and whether I was going to keep it at all.

When I first started the blog, I was working with Indeed Crowd to spread the word about healthcare jobs. Indeed Crowd folded. At that point, I had just started delivering food and was involved with a number of survey programs. I'm still involved with some of them, but just how much can you talk about that?

I started participating in blog hops and found that many of the blogs out there are fashion-oriented. Well, I am hardly what people think of when they think of a model, so I found it a bit discouraging. Plus, I had moved most of my posts about food and the like over to my Good Stuff From Grover blog, so this blog no longer seemed to have any purpose.

You can ask anyone who knows me, I'm not one to throw things out. I had a year until the next payment for this domain was coming due, so I figured I could sit on the blog till then, and if any inspiration leaped to mind, I've got a site right here ready for repurposing.

It came to me, like a flash, like a vision.

The thing that bothered me about the fashion blogs was not the fact that they were about fashion, although I'm something of the anti-fashion chick because of having very little money, being old and tired, and not being conventionally attractive or anywhere near the same zip code as thin.

The thing that bothered me about the fashion blogs was that so many of them were focused on being thin and conventionally attractive and physically fit in a certain way rather than being a blog for Everywoman. So, I decided that once I am settled in my new home, I'm going to repurpose this blog as a fashion blog for Everywoman.

Granted, since I am a large person, many of the posts will be about finding cool things to wear as a big gal. None of these posts will be about trying to make myself look thinner or about hiding my various rolls and bumps. I don't believe in stuffing myself into undergarments which make me feel like I'm a sausage or in stupid claims such as "tummy tamer" or "hip hider." Let's face it, when your build is Whole Lotta Rosie rather than Skinny Minnie, you ain't gonna be able to hide them hips, Child, and I say, if you've got it, flaunt it. Also, the only way my "tummy" ever needs to be "tamed" is if it's malfunctioning in some way, i.e. heartburn. I've got Zantac for that.

I did not come to this point of self-acceptance with being a large person in a society which loathes large people overnight. Far from it. I have a history of eating disorders starting when I was twelve years old and became bulimic because I was devastated that my developing hips were too wide to continue wearing my (child's) size nine jeans. I thought of myself as disgustingly fat.

There are a couple of problems with this way of thinking, and neither of them is on me or any other girl who has been pushed to think this way.

First, I was, at that point, wearing a ladies' size one pants. I weighed about 105 pounds and stood about five foot three.

Second, it doesn't matter what I weighed. No-one should ever be pushed to think that their body is bad or wrong. No-one. Not ever.

I did the Disordered Eating Dance and the Yo-Yo-Dieting Dance for the next 33 years. Admissibly, ED still rears his ugly head sometimes, but I will never again dance the Yo-Yo Dieting Dance. It's a bad tune and it never did me a damn bit of good. Truth be told, I had to stop dieting so I wouldn't gain more weight.

Here is what happens with dieting in most cases.

The dieter loses weight the first few times they diet. After a point, particularly if the dieter has endocrine issues, i.e. hypothyroidism or PCOS, the dieter stops losing weight. It doesn't matter if they only eat 500 calories a day. They will still not lose weight. Diets don't work long-term for more than approximately five percent of the population, but don't take my word for it. Check out these sites for the scientific facts.


In any case, I'm planning to turn this into my own fashion and fitness/health blog, because fashion isn't only for the slim, wealthy and conventionally attractive, and fitness and health are not only for those who can approximate the fitness levels of elite athletes.

I'm not big on rules, but, unfortunately, since fat hate is normalized and even encouraged, there are a few I will have to enforce.

1) No concern trolling. Not ever. I don't care how "concerned" for someone's "health" you are. Let's face it, your "concern" is not about their "health" in the first place. Go be "concerned" in your own space. Your "concern" is not welcome here.

2) I shouldn't have to say this, but there will be absolutely, positively, no size shaming allowed. To reiterate what I just said from a slightly different angle, no fat-shaming, and, on the flip side of the coin, no thin praising. Thin shaming is not welcome either. Don't size shame, mmmkay?

3) No diet talk. Not ever. I don't give a flying monkey's butt about your diet. 

4) No weight talk. People gain and lose weight for a variety of reasons. It's none of anyone else's business.

5) Fuck "flattering." Flattering is code for "it makes you look thinner." Around here, "flattering" doesn't fly.

6) What it says at the top of this post. All women are real, and all bodies are good bodies. Learn it. Live it. Love it.

I hope to have some fabulous fatshion to model for y'all in the not too distant future. Please keep in mind that I am not a model, although I have done some modeling in the past. Butt nekkid, for art classes, and no, I was not young, thin, or pretty at the time. I'm not going to be doing any butt nekkid modeling here, though. All pictures will be of the clothed variety.

In the meantime, do yourself a favor and check out the only diet that I will ever endorse. 

Be back soon!

~Cie~


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Come as you Are: J.O.B. to Poor but Free

Image by Grae Dickason from Pixabay

This poem describes very well how I felt about being in the Employee Mindset for nearly 40 years. The line "grey upon greyness" is particularly evocative.

That's exactly how I feel about the Life of an Employee working a J.O.B., which I did from the time I was 16 years old until this year when my disabilities knocked me out of the working life for good. (I'm 54 now and am working from home.)

There were some things about the jobs I did that I liked, but, overall, it was an extremely soul-destroying situation. I absolutely felt like I had to give up bits of myself all the time.

I certainly don't like living in poverty, which I am at this point. However, one thing is true which it never was when I was working a J.O.B. (stands for Just Over Broke). I am really and truly myself, not someone else's servant. On a soul level, that is tremendously freeing.

~Cie~

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Real Cie Reviews: Four Funny Potatoes


I hope that you will consider taking a look at my exclusive review for Four Funny Potatoes at the Online Book Club website. This book is appropriate for children ages three to seven. My review is mostly positive.
Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy of this book for review purposes.

~Cie~

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Search Engine Landing Page Evaluator with isoftstone

Image copyright Pexels @ Pixabay

isoftstone has landing page evaluator positions available worldwide. These are work from home positions requiring between 10 and 25 hours per week availability. The current pay rate is $13 per hour.
I am currently in the testing phase for this position. So far I have learned that I would throw myself from the top of Mount Everest if I had to do this work for more than 10 hours per week, and I am still deciding if I would be able to do even that much. My mind really does not sync with this sort of work.
To do the job correctly, one has to intuit the intent of the hypothetical searcher and evaluate the validity of the given landing page to the searcher's intent. It sounds simple, but there are multiple criteria to consider. If you prefer crossword puzzles to Sudoku puzzles, you may not be a good fit for this position either.
I did very poorly on the pattern recognition portion of the old-school I.Q. test when I was twelve years old. For many years, I believed myself to be "borderline retarded," because those were the words I heard the school psychologist telling my parents. Combine this with the fact that I have some trouble with balance, and girls in the 1970's were all expected to emulate Nadia Comaneci in the gym, I believed that I must be severely deficient intellectually even though I had always tested well above my grade level when it came to reading comprehension and writing abilities. 
The "above my grade level" measure did not translate to math. I did fine with addition and subtraction but when we started learning multiplication in the third grade, I was screwed. My well-meaning chum who rarely thought things through was given my paper to grade on our first multiplication test. She always praised me for being very smart because she had a bit of trouble with reading and writing, and I helped her. Once the papers were scored, she held mine up, eyes wide with surprise, and said loudly: "You got an F!" 
My friend meant no harm, but I burst into tears. I have long felt that the letter grade system was harmful to kids who are having trouble in school. F stands for "Failure" and everyone knows that. It would be better to replace D and F with something such as "Incomplete" and rather than punishing kids who were struggling, work with them to determine what they need in order to understand the subject.
I got an F in basic college math many years later because I made the mistake of trying to take the course online. When I took the course in person, I got an A, because I had a very patient teacher who held my hand and led me through the Math Jungle.
I also learned many years after my diagnosis of "borderline retardation" that I have a degree of dyslexia, mostly with numbers, and I have ADD. I have trouble concentrating for long periods of time on things that don't really hold my interest, and I do terribly with projects that seem mathematical.
If you have a very mathematical and analytical mind, you might really enjoy the isoftstone position to increase your income. I'm going to have to decide within the next three days if I'm capable of doing it for even ten hours a week. At the moment, I have my doubts, because working on it for even an hour had me wanting to throw myself into an active volcano, and my accuracy rate is...well...I got an F.
Disclaimer: I am not an employee or affiliate of isoftstone. I receive no compensation for reviewing this position or for tossing in a piece of my life story.

Cie
(and her non-mathematical mind)

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Weekend Wrap-Up 8 June 2019

Image by Jason Goh from Pixabay

I am not quite sure what direction the Deliver Me blog is going in at this point. I paid for another year of hosting for the URL in any case.
I'm thinking that I'm probably going to move all the recipe and life hack type tips to the Good Stuff from Grover site and try and move Deliver Me back to being strictly for affiliate marketing, surveys, and things of that nature. 
The move to Grover really was something that came as a surprise, although I'm the one who suggested it. My son and I were trying to stay in Denver, but as I've written about on several occasions, Denver is unaffordable for the working class. My son was talking about moving to Arkansas because the housing there is much more affordable. I really didn't want to move to Arkansas, so I scoured the real estate sites and found the amazing Grover Hotel in the beautiful little podunk prairie town of Grover.
It's not that I don't want to make this move. I do. It's just that my life got turned on its head, and I am nothing if not resistant to change. I only make changes when I get dragged kicking and screaming. I am not self-assured or adventurous. I am not a risk-taker. This is a terrifying step. I learned long ago that the best-laid plans fail far more often than they succeed.
I also ended up feeling that I inadvertently made one person whom I actually had come to like mad at me, and another person whom I liked decided to make an unfunny joke at my expense. I didn't bounce back very well from these incidents and have been avoiding participating in blog hops and such. It's not like anyone will miss me, so, whatever.
So, the Deliver Me blog may land on its feet, or it may not, and I may rescue it, or I may not. I don't imagine it makes a great deal of difference in the grand scheme of things.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

FOAD Thursday: Yet More Fun With Spam


Spammers--they just never stop trying.
It may be tempting to click that you "confirm your request" to be removed from their mailing list. However, you actually do not want to do that. Doing so lets them know that your email address is active, and they will barrage you with even more garbage, or try to hack your email. 
Do not confirm the "request." Report it as Spam.
Also, anything that's this much of a cluster-fork is never legitimate.


Since I never requested to be on your "Adulte" mailing list, Jessica, I see no reason why I should be confirming my "request" to be deleted from it.
I had such a headache with my email account being hacked last week that I have even fewer kind thoughts for spammers now than ever, and I never had any kind thoughts for them.
Spammers are hoping for people to be gullible and desperate. Don't fall for their tricks.

~Cie~

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Ko-Fi Gold


Hi Delivered Ones!
Click the banner above to discover how Ko-Fi Gold can help you create a monthly subscription service for your supporters. If you become a Ko-Fi Gold member during the launch, your monthly fee is only $6 per month forever. It can't hurt to take a look, so click the banner now and join me as a Ko-Fi Gold Member!

~Cie~

Friday, May 24, 2019

Do NOT Give Information to "Survey" Sites


When you see advertisements for "paid survey sites" claiming you can make a given amount of money (often $300) for signing up, stay away. 
The first thing they ask for is your email address, and that's where the trouble begins.
You then receive a huge list of options to answer "yes" or "no" to. These can vary from "do you want to sign up with Survey Company X?" to "Do you have lower back pain" or "do you want to pre-arrange a funeral for your elderly parakeet?"
Some of the survey companies they suggest signing up with are legitimate. Here's the thing: anyone can create an account with a survey company and get a referral link. 
Whichever of the offers you answer "yes" to now has your email address, and this can lead to trouble down the road.
I've avoided these sketchy survey aggregators for many years, but I started taking paid surveys back in the early 2000s when I was also naive enough to pay for "top seekrit" survey lists. 
For the past few days, I have been receiving a crap-ton of phishing emails from addresses ending in rf-cheats.ru
Some of these emails initially appeared to have come from me.
I have changed my password four times in the past two days.
The things you do in the past can come back to haunt you years later.
Do NOT enter these survey aggregator sites.
You will not come away with $300.
You will come away with well more than $300 worth of aggravation.
If I achieve nothing else in this life, should I manage to steer people away from "survey" scams, I will feel like I've done something right.

~Cie~

Here are five tried and true legitimate GPT/Survey sites:

Please enter referral code R7RPQG and we'll both get points. Irazoo is my current favorite GPT site.







Thursday, May 23, 2019

It's FOAD Thursday, and Spammers can FOAD Every Day


Click the image to enlarge.
Dear Delivered Ones, today is FOAD Thursday, and it is my most fervent wish that all spammers would FOAD and so would the multi-billion dollar diet industry, which is directly responsible for sparking millions of eating disorders and destroying countless lives. Since I haven't yet found a spell to make that happen, I can at least try and prevent people from losing their money to spammers.
You see the email address that I've circled in red? That is your number one clue that this email is nothing but Spam that has escaped the can and is going on a rampage.
Don't bother unsubscribing from these emails. It doesn't work. Instead, block the email and report it as Spam.
In Gmail, that looks like this:
You go to the three dots in the right-hand corner of your inbox and select the "block" option. Sometimes when you say yes to blocking a sender, it also asks if you want to move the conversation to Spam, which you should do. 
I get irritated with Gmail when a glut of these spam emails get through, but I still like them better than a lot of the other options, so I stay with them.
I also changed my Google password, because the email appeared to have come from me. I have gotten multiple spam emails today alone from accounts with the "rf-cheats.ru" extension. The inevitable "keto diet" bullshit, but also offers for "CBD oil" and encouragement to "refinance your mortgage."
I don't have a mortgage, and the "CBD oil" they're selling is probably made from cooking oil and oregano if you're lucky, or some sort of noxious weed they picked from the side of the road if you aren't.
BLOCK ALL SUCH EMAILS AND REPORT THEM AS SPAM.
Change your password immediately if any of them initially appear to have been sent from your email address. Your account has been compromised.
Please take care to protect yourself from these bastards.

~Cie~


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Help Fight MS Deliciously

Image copyright Hoaluu on Pixabay

Hey, Delivered Ones! This isn't something I'm getting paid to tell you, but it's something that's nice to know about.
Now you can have an easy dinner and donate to the cause of fighting MS all at the same time!
From now through June 30 when you order from Papa Murphy's online, enter the code FIGHTMS, and Papa Murphy's will donate 25% of your order's total value to Meat Fight, a charity committed to raising money for MS research.
I like to order on $10 Tuesdays and $5 Fridays. For those not in the know, every Tuesday at Papa Murphy's you can get any large pizza--and I mean ANY large pizza--for $10. Go to town and order a large special stuffed crust--it's still $10!
I usually pick up 3 large pepperoni pizzas on $5 Fridays, when their large thin crust pepperoni pizzas are, you know, $5 apiece. This gives my son and me three days worth of lunches at $2.50 per person. You can't go wrong with those prices!
I now feel even better about ordering pizza knowing that I'm donating to the worthy cause of funding research for MS and making life a little better for people living with MS. You can too! Go on, order up!

~Cie~

Sunday, May 19, 2019

New Happenings from Around the Netherworld

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Hello Delivered Ones, Horror Harridans, and other followers of things Netherworldly! We have a few new things going on in our twisted little Universe, so stop your grinnin' and drop your linen, it's time for announcements!

My new pal Ghost Town Grover is getting used to my inevitable presence and he and his spooky friends are even springing new ideas on me for stuff we can sell. This newfangled website business is kinda weird for good ole Grover, but he don't mind if it gets the word out about his General Store.

We have a couple of new blog hops in the Netherworld family. First is the Silent Sunday Blog Hop over at Dark Hearts Love Too, the Netherworld's poetry cafe.  Pretty much the only rule is you have to share a photo that was taken by you. Swing on by and share a link if that sort of thing is your bag, Baby!

Next, we have the Come As You Are Party happening at the Crazy Creatives Cheerleading Camp. This party was created in response to the fact that a lot of blog hops really aren't very welcoming of people who aren't normal and "pretty" in a very narrow way. This is the blog hop for the Rest of Us: the unwanted, the unloved, the downtrodden, the fallen behind, the pushed aside, the Outsiders. You can share pretty much whatever you want with a couple of exceptions. If you've ever felt like you just don't belong, this is the place for you.

We hope a few of you will come on by and check out our new to-do's!

~Cie~

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Weekend Wrap-Up 18 May 2019

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Ever have one of those weeks?
On the positive side, the Good Stuff From Grover website is off to a...well, to a start. I've designed postcards for it. But...
Well, Grover tells it better than I do. You can read what he has to say.
To make a long story short, I ended up contacting Vistaprint. I've had them design things for me in the past. The quality of their work is solid. 
MS Word's flyer template (which I was going to use for postcards) irritated me. When I designed the business cards, each card changed to follow suit with the others. Not so with the flyers, and I was getting really irritated. 
I have a friend acting as a guinea pig for me to see if it is practical to ship the Peanut Butter Avalanche cookies.
I have gotten rid of the Forester. As I told my son, if something becomes an albatross, get rid of it. The Forester has been an albatross for a long time, pretty much since we bought it, in fact. A lot of money was sunk into that car. When buying a used car in the future, I am going to take it to the mechanic to have them assess it. I don't want to be driving around in another Albatross Express.


This week's food comparison:
Oscar Meyer Natural Selects hot dogs are good.
Oscar Meyer Smokies are nasty. Sadly, I bought 5 packages of these at the Kroger Buy 5 Save $5 sale. I thought I was scoring a deal getting them at 99 cents per package. No such luck. They aren't bad enough to take back to the store, because I know they'll just be tossed if I do that, but they won't make another appearance in my house.
We have a new microwave, which we got from Home Depot. The microwave ended up costing $10, thanks to the register clerk aggressively signing my son up for a credit card. This is a double-edged sword.
My son is unemployed. When he told the clerk this, she said "I'll just put in the minimum amount," which, it turns out, was $35,000. She sent this amount before he had a chance to say anything about it, and he was approved for a credit card with a $500 limit, which gave us the microwave at $50 off.
Myself, I'd have let it ride and just put the credit card aside and never used it. My son was so worried about credit card fraud that we ended up going back to the store where the customer service clerk called the credit card company. They reassured my son that as long as he made payments if he used the card, everything would be fine.
He didn't expect that he would qualify for the card. The only reason he let the clerk go ahead and take his information was the fact that even if he didn't qualify, we'd have gotten $25 off the microwave.
I don't much like what my son refers to as used car salesman tactics to try and get people to sign up for credit cards or anything else. Despite the fact that we got the microwave at a serious discount, it ended up negatively affecting his feelings about Home Depot.
We've ended up pushing the closing on the Grover Hotel out until a structural engineer can come in and examine things. The building needs to be up to code before we can move in. 
In other news, I'm casting my net about for a good used Prius, which we will buy outright. We'll be having to come to Denver once a week, and the gas mileage on the Ford Fusion will put us in the poor house if that's the car we're using. It gets 17 MPG in the city and 22 on the highway. We're going to need to do better than that.
I saw a picture of a used Tesla, which was so glorious that I swear I would have stuck my left leg in a wood chipper if doing so meant I could have that car. Sadly, at $42,000 it will never be mine. But I won't wait for a midnight confession to tell you that I love it.

~Cie~


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

How to Melt Almond Bark in the Oven


Hi, Delivered Ones! I wanted to make these delicious no-bake Avalanche Cookies from Dinner at the Zoo, but my house has a broken microwave, which is making me very sad. 
I was looking for instructions to melt the almond bark on the stove since I haven't made candy on the stove in a long time, but I found an even better way which doesn't involve me standing over the stove stirring for a year. I overdid things both yesterday and today, so my fibromyalgia is bad right now, and my legs are very sore.
I just put the almond bark in my glass baking dish at 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Then I can stir it together with the other ingredients.
Time and temperature edited on 15 May 2019. This oven does not go lower than 170 degrees and I found that with the product I was using, five extra minutes for melting were necessary. I find that melting the product in the oven at a low temperature leaves it warm and soft as opposed to like working with lava, as happens when melting it in the microwave.
My "Good Stuff from Grover" website is live, and you can head on over there and meet Ghost Town Grover. I'm testing out recipes for baked goods to sell from Ghost Town Grover's general store, along with handcrafted items. I felt it would be best to keep the WAH/affiliate blog separate from the handcrafted gifts and goodies blog.
I hope your microwave doesn't break, but if it does or if you just want an alternate way to melt almond bark, give the oven method a try!

Here is the recipe for the wonderful Avalanche Cookies. I subbed almond butter for the peanut butter because my son isn't keen for peanut butter. There's no accounting for taste in some people! ;-)

16 ounces white almond bark also known as white candy coating or candy melts
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups rice krispies cereal
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup miniature chocolate chips divided use
INSTRUCTIONS
Place 1/2 cup of the miniature chocolate chips in the freezer.
Break the almond bark into pieces and place in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 45 second increments until melted.
Remove the almond bark from the microwave and stir in the peanut butter until completely combined.
Add the rice krispies and stir to coat. Let the mixture cool until lukewarm.
Add the marshmallows and stir to coat. Add the frozen chocolate chips and stir until combined.
Place 2 tablespoon sized drops of the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper. Repeat with remaining mixture. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips, you'll need to work quickly before the cookies harden!
Cool completely until firm then serve. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

(Recipe adapted from Slow Roasted Italian)

This post was edited for content on 15 May 2019.

~Cie~




Sunday, May 12, 2019

Products I Can't Quite Wrap My Head Around: Naked Babe Wall Decal



I'm honestly not sure if anyone but Austin Powers would want this decal on their wall, but if that sort of thing really is your bag, Baby, I invite you to go for it. 



If you need further decorating inspiration, you can also pick up the Austin Powers video guides to fashionable and successful living. Get all three for just ten bucks, Baby! But hurry, because this great deal may not last long at these prices.
The sticker people have other decorative decals as well, just in case the naked babe decal really isn't your bag, Baby.

~Cie~


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Weekend Wrap-Up: A Leap of Faith that Hopefully Doesn't End in a Giant Splat

Image by Marta Cuesta from Pixabay

I have reached a crossroads in my life. Not a little itty bitty crossroads either. A big hum-dinger of a crossroads. So big, in fact, that I wrote the following poem and note about it:


cricket silence
between scraping sounds
autumn begins
for me a new beginning
or perhaps the end of all

Jane & Cie

The Hokku (Haiku) portion of the poem was written by Jane Reichhold. The Ageku, or closing stanza, was written by me.
Come the fall, I should have pictures of the old hotel my son is buying to renovate. This probably sounds a lot posher than it is. This building is in a town listed on the Colorado Ghost Towns website, and it needs a lot of work.
For me, this move is literally either a new beginning or the beginning of the end. I have run out of options.


Here is the Grover Hotel. I am going to be in touch with the Colorado Historical Society on Monday to see what needs to happen for us to receive a grant to help us with renovation. 
The Grover Hotel was built in 1900, at the point when Grover was a boom town. After it was a hotel, it was a church, a hospital, and then a boarding house. I am not entirely sure how long it has been vacant.
There are significant repairs which will need to be made, including the roof. My son and I are meeting with a plumbing contractor and an electrician on Tuesday. We are fully committed to making this building once again as beautiful as it is stalwart. It has a lot of problems, but we believe that it can once again be an asset to this tiny town.
Concurrent with my commitment to making this move 100 miles from Denver, I made the decision to quit my job. 
I have never been unemployed for long periods of time. I've worked ever since I was 16 years old. Being unemployed makes me feel like I've given up, even if logic dictates otherwise.
I had two cars: a 2011 Ford Fusion and a 1998 Subaru Forester. The Forester was bought used and ignorantly. Always take any newly purchased car to your mechanic for inspection before committing to purchase. I did not do that. The Forester has been a money pit, and it overheated on me for the last time last Friday. I am going to let the mechanic sell it for parts.
This leaves me with only the Ford Fusion.
Working as a delivery driver comes with significant risks. Fortunately, the only two accidents I've been in with the Fusion have been minor and the other driver was at fault in both cases, so their insurance covered the cost of repairs. As a reminder, never make a deal with the other driver, always go through the insurance company for repairs. 
If I had agreed to have the parents of the young lady who slid into my car when the roads were icy pay me for the initial estimate, I would have been screwed six ways to Sunday. The initial estimate quoted repairs costing less than $500. The actual cost was nearly $2000. 
In any case, I am not in a position to risk my now sole vehicle by working as a courier. I need to concentrate on preparing for the move, including getting rid of a significant amount of stuff. 
I am very nervous about this move. I have plans to sell handcrafted items. I will be revealing my blog dedicated to these items early in the week, once the inspection has come back. The inspector wants to consult with a structural engineer regarding the foundation before he gives us his final assessment.
I am really no longer able to work "normal" jobs. Once the property has been purchased, I am going to have to go to social services in the county where the property is located and talk face to face about why my 401K, which I can't access without a significant penalty until I reach retirement age, is preventing me from qualifying for SNAP. Thankfully, I get Medicaid, but I don't get SNAP. I find this ridiculous, considering that I made less than $10,000 last year.
This place really is the last stop on the line for Yours Truly. If I can't make a go of it here, I'm well and truly done. 
I have a strange and amazing imagination and a lot of fine ideas. The problem is getting people to know about me.
I am also not known for my normalcy or for being sugar and spice. I am not sweet, petite, or pretty, and I tend to speak my mind. One person referred to me as flinty. I identify as a curmudgeon. I have heard that well-behaved women rarely make history. It would be a shame if such a badly behaved woman as myself was buried by time and dust, I think.

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I'll go more in depth with this issue later, but I think that it's worth mentioning that many people can no longer afford to live in the city. This house is being purchased with money that my son's father inherited. I can tell you this: $200,000 may sound like a lot of money, but it isn't.
We could piss this money away on rents of $1200 per month (and rising) for a modest, two-bedroom townhome. I love this place, I really do, and at $1200 a month, it's cheap for the Denver metro area. But the rent rises every year and staying here has become unsustainable for two disabled people who are receiving absolutely no help from the housing authority.
We could buy a condo in the outlying areas of the Denver metro area. The only acceptable one we found would have been $240,000. It had three bedrooms and one bathroom. My son is inviting a friend to live with us. We would have felt like we were all on top of each other pretty quickly, and there would always have been a queue for the loo. Not fun!
We could purchase a mobile home for around $90,000 and piss away $700 a month on lot rent. Mobile homes do not earn equity, they depreciate like a car does. I will discuss the money pit which is the mobile home that I own and am clearing out to sell at another juncture. Everything is broken down in this place and I have never had the money to replace or repair it. There was a flood which required treatments for black mold in the aftermath. It's possible that the place will need to be condemned. I'm hoping it can be salvaged because I'd like to potentially get back a little money from it.
The Grover Hotel will cost $90,000. Admissibly, it needs a lot of work, which will come out of the remaining money. However, it has six bedrooms spread out over two floors. It has a basement. It has an attic. It has a back yard. I'm not sure who you'd have to kill to get something like that in the Denver area, but I do know you couldn't get it legally.
Housing costs are driving the working class out of the cities. This means they either have to make long commutes, or they end up unemployed and on welfare living in rural areas. 
Denver, like other major cities, likes to brag about how they've created apartments with wonderful amenities right next to the transit hubs. While this is true, the rents start at $2000 per month for a closet (small studio apartment). The working classes cannot afford to live in these places. I guess we can set up tents in the parking lots of abandoned buildings, hope that the restaurant throws out some edible food, and use the area between dumpsters for our toilet while hoping not to get bit on the ass by a rat. No, I'm not being hyperbolic. This sort of thing is actually happening every day.
My son and I will come back to Denver once a week for our woodworking class and pick up a week's worth of groceries. Denver is more than 100 miles from Grover. We may visit the Botanic Gardens once a month. We lose out on all the cultural activities that we loved, such as going to the museum. I was working, which meant something to me, but I have to stop doing that and hope for the best when it comes to creating my own products to sell.
This is the sort of thing that happens when people are punished for being part of the working class and for being disabled.
We need to stop looking down our noses at the working class. Not everyone can or wants to be a CEO. That person at the McDonald's who made your burger and fries enabled you to not have to make your own burger and fries. Why in the world anyone believes that people in the working class should be punished by being forced to live in poverty is beyond the scope of my imagination.
American society as it currently stands is not sustainable. We either need to implement changes that benefit the middle and lower classes or things are going to break down even further. This never leads to anything good.
I hope you will all visit my new website when I reveal the URL. I want to do some giveaways and think of ways that we WAH folk can help each other.

~Cie~

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Dear Betty Crocker: How About Skipping the Size Shaming With your Soup and Salad Suggestions?


So, I get the Betty Crocker newsletter and I appreciate the helpful suggestions for people like me who are in a time crunch and don't have a lot of money. Recently, I discovered a cool page with tasty soup and salad pairings.
Well, it was almost a cool page. But it screwed that up from the giddyup with the size shaming bold as brass just below the initial picture.
"Fend off winter weight gain with these deliciously light soup and salad pairings."
You know what, Betty? I used to worry about that kind of shit. So, over the course of 33 years, I went on diet after diet. If there was a new diet, I tried it. I lost a lot of weight over the years. It always returned with friends. I had to stop dieting so I wouldn't get any heavier. Lo and behold, my weight stabilized. 
If I eat soup and salad, it's because I want to eat soup and salad, not because I give a flea fart in a category five hurricane about "winter weight gain."
I left this comment on the page:
I prefer my food suggestions without the side order of size shaming. It would have been easy enough to suggest soup and salad pairings without dragging terms like "winter weight gain" into it. Interestingly enough, there are links to dessert or cake-like bread recipes at the top of the page. Which, I suppose, one is supposed to have a nibble of and then throw the rest away due to the fear of "winter weight gain."
Making everything about weight and shaming larger people leads to bullying and eating disorders. That is a side dish I can do without.
It seems to me that the content writers over at the Betty Crocker website need a good dose of the Fuck It Diet. Or, as I like to call it, the last diet you'll ever need.
I only wish I had known about the Fuck It Diet back when I was a bulimic teenager. I also wish there had been big, beautiful role models like Adele, Beth Ditto and Tess Holliday back in the 1970s and 1980s. There might have been fewer vulnerable young women ending up with eating disorders if we had been able to see women of all sizes looking confident and fashionable.

~Cie~


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Tan Renga Challenge 2019: Day 7: Wisteria


In the moonlight,
The color and scent of the wisteria
Seems far away.
As far away I think as
My sense of belonging here

Buson & Cie


Notes:
The Hokku (Haiku) stanza of the poem was written by Yosa Buson (1716 - 1784). The Akegu (closing) stanza was written by me.
I have never felt that I belonged in this world. When I was younger, I always hoped I'd find people I belonged with. There have been a few where I feel like they put up with me to a degree or felt sympathy for me, but I have never had a sense of finding my "tribe." The only person I'm really at all close with is my son. I tend to form only very superficial relationships with other people.
Dinners with my mother are perilous and fraught with small talk. She has never approved of any of my choices, and she knows almost nothing about what is really transpiring in my life.
I am not at all close with the other members of my family. I would not recognize most of them if I passed them in the street.
At this point in my life, I do not wish to party and socialize. I have one friend whom I confide in via email, and that means a lot. This friend lives a few thousand miles away from me, so it isn't as if we could get together for coffee.
I have felt a degree of understanding and acceptance from the people participating in this little Tan Renga challenge, which I usually don't get a sense of during such challenges. 
I usually feel as if I am an outsider who has crashed a party when participating in blog hops, and the general sense is "what is that freak doing here at our exclusive soiree?" Some of the blog hops I participate in are very focused on clothing and fashion although other sorts of posts are allowed, and if you don't think I'm an absolute outlier when it comes to fashion, you don't know me at all. I can't afford nice clothes or even new clothes, and I look like an unmade bed most of the time.
One would think that I would feel more at home with creative blog hops, but I usually don't. I've been surprised by the feeling of peace I've gained participating in this one. Maybe it's just that no-one has attacked me yet. Hopefully, we can do without that happening this time.

Happy 29th Birthday Michael

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Haiga copyright The Real Cie

My son was born on this day 29 years ago at 8 A.M. I was unconscious at the time. He was a long baby with no meat on his bones: 19 inches long, 5 pounds 12 ounces. He lost 4 ounces of that weight after being born and scared the hell out of me. He had to be fed every two hours because his blood sugar kept plummeting.
My son is a very intelligent chap, but he doesn't do things the way our current society thinks people are "supposed" to do things. He's high-functioning autistic and battles depression and anxiety. He has a great artistic eye and loves photography and woodworking. He learns best by doing and does very poorly with attempting to learn from textbooks and lectures, which is why he ended up not doing well in college except for in his German class.
My son and I are stocky people, so with the foolish biases that modern society holds about larger people, most people think we eat a lot. We don't. We are food insecure. We ration our food and tend to only eat one or two meals a day. 
Our neuropsychological conditions and my physical issues mean that neither of us can work conventional jobs. Since modern society has Draconian ideas, disabled people are punished and not allowed adequate food or housing.
I am not being hyperbolic when I say that if it weren't for my son, I would not still be in this world. So, now you know who to blame for my continued existence.
Happy birthday, Michael, and may you have many, many more, and may each one be better than the last.

Yo Mama